The Mesoamerican Laboratory Ceramic Type Collections Project

The Peabody Museum’s ceramic collections represent important sites from throughout Mesoamerica, and many were collected by some of the most influential scholars in Mesoamerican studies. The collections provide comparative samples for contemporary archaeologists working at the same sites or in regions where similar types of pottery may be found, and in many cases are the only representative type collections available out of their country of origin, making them invaluable resources for faculty, students, and scholars. Over the years, many of the type collections had fallen into a state of disorganization, due to their use by multiple generations of students and scholars. Barbara Fash, recognizing the historical research significance of the collections, initiated the Mesoamerican Laboratory Ceramic Type Collections Project to address these issues. Post-doctoral fellow Dr. Ann Seiferle-Valencia worked on the project from 2008–2010, and Dr. Jennifer Carballo (pictured below) joined the project in 2011. Over 40,000 sherds from 14 sites have been reorganized to date, and Jenny continues to document, identify, and reorganize additional collections housed in the Mesoamerican Laboratory, and to enhance knowledge about the collections through academic background research on the collections. 


Left: Reorganizing ceramic type collections. Right: Ceramics from the Basin of Mexico before reorganization. Photos by Jennifer Carballo.